At the 2019 Firestarter Festival myself and Keira Oliver ran a workshop grandly entitled “Practising change together – towards appreciative and collaborative evaluation.” We hoped to develop the ideas and themes from the FSF2018 event “Reigniting Evaluation” and take it further, influenced by the recently launched report Workforce Scotland, “Collective leadership: Where Nothing is Clear, and Everything Keeps Changing – Exploring new territories for evaluation”. People were asked to read this in advance – but we didn’t check if they had.
On the day, we aimed to focus on the practicalities of how to talk about the creation of new cultures of embedded learning and evaluation. We used a series of provocations (see pages 53-55 of the report) to help us tell stories of when evaluation had worked well and think about how we might ‘retell’ that experience as a ‘story of the future’. We had great conversations about our hopes and generated some ideas for what we might do or think more about here and now.
There was a great energy in the room. People were drawn from across public services and if you digest their words of the moment and the unfolding stories you will be in no doubt of their shared commitment to change. That’s the fire’s well and truly stoked.